Three aides of Senate President Bukola Saraki are being probed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) over the alleged diversion of N19 billion out of the London-Paris loan refund of N522.7 billion.
According to a report by The Nation, 15 accounts of some individuals and companies have been frozen as the probe deepened and even a damning report already submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari..
Investigators of the agency have in the interim traced $183,000 (N71, 370,000) of the refund to a jeweller’s account in Dubai.
The Nation, quoting from the damning report, said the anti-graft agency is probing, apart from Saraki’s aides, a former Heritage Bank Executive Director Mr. Robert Mbonu, and three others on how N3.5billion was wired into some accounts.
Under probe are Melrose General Services Limited, the Relationship Manager to the Senate President, Kathleen Erhimu, Obiora Amobi, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Hon. Gbenga Peter Makanjuola, Mr. Kolawole Shittu and Oladapo Joseph Idowu.
Mbonu is said to be one of the consultants engaged by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
The Nation suggested that the damning report may have fuelled Ibrahim Magu’s rejection by the Senate as the substantive chairman of the EFCC.
An EFCC source said: “This agency has frozen more than 15 accounts used to divert the N19billion remitted into the account of the Nigerian Governors Forum(NGF).
“Some of these accounts include those of Bureau De Change, companies, mortgage firms, and personal types.
“We have been able to recover some money from these frozen accounts. Also, some bankers have made useful statements to this commission.”
“Mr. Robert Mbonu is alleged to have received N3.5billion into his company’s (Melrose General Services Limited’s) account from the NGF through Account 0005892453 domiciled in Access Bank.
“Investigation revealed that one Kathleen Erhimu is the Relationship Manager to Dr. Bukola Saraki’s account with Access Bank.
“That Saraki at a meeting introduced one Joseph Oladapo Idowu and Gbenga Peter Makanjuola to her and Hon. Makanjuola thereafter introduced Mr. Robert Mbonu to Ms Kathleen Erhimu.
“That Mbonu operates an account , Melrose General Services with Access Bank Plc 0005892453 and 0005653500 which was up till 13th December a business account.
“That Halima Kyari , the Head of Private Banking Group stated in a letter dated 13th December , 2016 , Mr. Robert Mbonu requested a transfer of Melrose General Services Company account from Business Account to a Private Banking Group Platform as he was expecting huge funds into the account.
“Subsequently, on the 14th December , the sum of N3.5billion was lodged into Melrose General Services Company account number 0005892453 domiciled in Access Bank from the Nigerian Governors Forum(NGF).
“That thereafter Mr. Obiora Amobi and Hon. Gbenga Makanjuola were introduced to Access Bank as representatives of Melrose General Services Limited by Robert Mbonu to enable them cash withdrawals from the account.
“That one Oluyemi Braithwaite, the MD/ CEO of Reinex Bureau de Change, Caddington Capital Limited and Westgate Limited also manages a BDC stated to have known Mbonu as a client and he requested for dollars in exchange for the Naira equivalent which were to be handed over to one Mr. Gbenga in Abuja.
“That Ms Oluyemi Braithwaite contacted one Hassan Dantani Abubakar, the owner of Hamma Procurement Limited, Ashrab Nigeria Limited and Insoire Solar Application to make available the dollars based on the Naira equivalent as transferred from Robert Mbonu who she had introduced via phone to Hassan Dantani.
“That on 16th December 2016, Melrose General Services transferred the sum of N246million to Hamma Procurement First Bank Accouny No. 2030756168 in exchange for the sum of $500,000 which was handed to one Mr. Gbenga in Abuja who acknowledged receipt of the same amount.
“That on the 21st Dec 2016, Ms Oluyemi Braithwaite contacted Hassan Dantani Abubakar, requesting for another transaction of $370,000. Melrose General Services Company transferred the sum of N181m to Inspire Solar Application. The $370,000 was handed over to one Mr. Dapo in Abuja.
“That on the 4th of January 2017, Mbonu through Melrose General Services Company transferred the sum of N248, 500,000 to Caddington Capital Limited belonging to Ms Oluyemi Braithwaite who transferred same to Hassan Dantani Abubakar’s FCMB account, Ashrab Nigeria Limited for the sum of $500,000. The dollar equivalent was handed over to Mr. Kolawole Shittu in Abuja
“That on the 10th of January 2017, Mr. Robert Mbonu through Melrose General Services Company transferred the sum of N99,820,000 to Caddington Capital Limited belonging to Ms. Oluyemi Braithwaite who transferred same to Hassan Dantani Abubakar’s FCMB Ashrab Nigeria Limited for the sum of $200,000. The dollar equivalent was handed over to one Mr. Peter in Abuja.
“That on the 19th December, there was a cash withdrawal of the sum of N50million from Melrose General Services account via cheque by Hon. Gbenga Peter Makanjuola.
“Also, the sum of $1,570,000 was received by the trio of Mr. Gbenga Peter Makanjuola, Mr. Kolawole Shittu and Mr. Oladapo Joseph Idowu at various times and locations at Abuja FCT.
“That on the 29th December, 2016, Mr. Robert Mbonu called Mrs. Kathleen Erhimu of Access Bank requesting her to source for a customer that would have the sum of $500,000 in exchange for the Naira equivalent. She introduced Mr. Robert Mbonu to Acarast Commercial Limited and Capital Field Investment to help him source for dollars.
“That on the 21st December 2016, GCA Energy Limited paid the sum of $25,000 to Asterio Energy Services Limited which subsequently transferred the sum of $23,200 to Cactus Communication Limited account with Access Bank.
“The MD of Sought-After International Synergy Limited, Julius Okedele stated that Mr. Kelechi Edomobi of Acarast Commercial Enterprises contacted him and requested to purchase dollars after the transfer of N73,950,000 to Sought-After International Synergy Limited. Mr. Edomobi gave him the account number of Cactus Communication Limited Access Bank as the nominated account to receive the dollar equivalent of the sum of $149,000.
“Investigation further confirmed that Cactus Communication Limited is owned and operated by Joseph Oladapo Idowu, an aide to Bukola Saraki.
“That Mr. Kelechi Edomobi also transferred the sum of N1m on the 15th of January, 2017, to Joseph Oladapo Idowu’s personal account number 0001679877 with Access Bank Plc.” (NAN)